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How To Use a Fire Extinguisher for a Home Fire

10/19/2021 (Permalink)

Woman using an extinguisher in her kitchen. It is essential to have an extinguisher in your Colorado Springs, CO home to prevent the fire spread.

A house fire can happen without warning and get out of control in an instant. Many people don't think about this scenario until it's too late, so it's helpful to learn about the different types of house fires and how to prevent or mitigate fire damage.

Three types of fire extinguishers are used in homes:

  • Type A extinguishers are manufactured to manage common materials fires (e.g., paper, cloth, wood).
  • Type B extinguishers are created for use with flammable and combustible liquids (e.g., oil, grease, gasoline).
  • Type C extinguishers are built to control electrical fires (e.g., appliances, televisions, hairdryers, power tools).

Ideally, you'll have a fire extinguisher accessible in different areas of your Colorado Springs, CO, home for the type of fire that is most likely. For example, type A for an office or living room, type B for a garage or kitchen, and type C for a hallway or recreational room.

Tips for Avoiding Fire Damage

1. Be Careful With Candles

Candles can give the room a pleasant scent while providing an atmosphere that doesn't compare with light bulbs. However, you must be very careful with candles. Keep them on a sturdy surface and away from flammable materials (e.g., curtains, papers). Also, never leave them burning unattended and leave them out of reach of children and pets.

2. Maintain Your Dryer

Remember to clean your lint trap every time you do a new load of laundry. Fire damage restoration experts will advise you to also clean behind the dryer to clear it of lint and clothing items. These materials can be highly flammable when exposed to the heat of the dryer.

3. Keep Toaster, Stove, and Oven Clean

Keep your kitchen cooking appliances such as your toaster, stove, and oven clean. Crumbs, oil, and grease can flame up quickly when the surface gets hot.

4. Have Working Fire Extinguishers on Hand

Always have an easily accessible fire extinguisher for every part of your home. Inspect them regularly to make sure they will work when you need them.

5. Monitor Cooking Food

Avoid a kitchen fire by closely watching cooking food. Don't leave the kitchen area unattended while you're cooking. Teach everyone how to put out different types of kitchen fires safely.

6. Maintain Smoke Detectors

It's vital to your family's well-being to have working smoke detectors in every part of your home and maintain them. Make sure you replace the battery in each detector at least twice a year and test the alarm. Also, keep them free of dust and debris that can build up. You can lightly vacuum, blow with canned air or wipe the casing off with a damp cloth.

7. Safely Store Combustible Products

You may be surprised at how many products in your household can combust relatively easily. Keep these materials, such as hairspray, air fresheners, household cleaners, and shaving cream, away from heat sources like space heaters.

The key to avoiding a house fire is knowing what to do and not to do to be safe. Being cautious around heat sources and open flames is essential. Ensure everyone knows how to safely put out different types of fires and how to use a fire extinguisher.

Understanding Clean Water Damage

10/11/2021 (Permalink)

Leaking pipe. Contaminated water must be clean properly in your Colorado Springs, CO commercial.

Category one water damage is defined as clean water. The problem likely stems from a freshwater line break. However, do not be fooled. While the source of the damage is initially uncontaminated water, it can and will evolve the longer it is left to fester.

As water sits on the floor, it becomes contaminated with bacteria, chemicals, and whatever else is on the floor, walls, or shelves and within the water. Therefore, it is crucial you deal with the water in your facility as quickly as possible.

3 Ways To Deal With Clean Water Damage

When dealing with the aftermath of a supply line break, time is of the essence. The water category can change rapidly, so if the spill is manageable, it is critical to wipe it up as soon as it is noticed. If it is a significant flood, contact a remediation specialist in Colorado Springs, CO, to manage the cleanup process. Either way, there is a four-step process to mitigating the problem.

1. Turn Off the Water Source

Before dealing with the growing flood on your facility floor, you will need to turn off the water supply to the affected area. If the spillage is in a kitchen or bathroom, you can often find the supply shut off under a sink or behind a toilet. If the problem occurs elsewhere in the building, it might be best to shut off the main water supply until you can locate the appropriate shutoff.

When working with a professional mitigation company, the team that arrives on the scene will probably know where the shutoffs are because they will have superior knowledge of plumbing systems. It is best to stay out of the pros way and let them do what they are trained to do.

2. Clean Up the Spillage or Overflow

Once the valve is off and there is no more water feeding into the flood, you can begin the cleanup process. You will need a mop, bucket, towels, etc., to dry the area as quickly as possible, limiting secondary damage.

A professional service will have access to commercial shop vacs, pumps, air movers, fans, etc., making the cleanup that much faster and more efficient. One thing to note is working with professionals almost always results in a quicker recovery time.

3. Call an Expert

Assuming the damage to the property is significant, resulting from a broken pipe, it is likely never better to try and DIY the project. A professional crew can remove more water in a small window than your company is likely equipped for, and speed and efficiency are crucial to mitigating any significant or lasting damage.

A clean water flood is typically referred to as a category one flood. As long as the disaster is cleaned up quickly, you can mitigate any significant damage. However, if the water sits for a long time, it will worsen to category two or three problems. When dealing with clean water or water disaster, like a minor or significant flood, it is likely in your best interest to hire a professional company.

Why Does IICRC Certification Matter?

9/23/2021 (Permalink)

A professional clean-up team. The IICRC certifications set high ethics, health, and safety standards.

If you've ever researched the cleaning and restoration companies in Colorado Springs, CO, you've probably come across the phrase, "IICRC certified." Just seeing the phrase attached to a cleaning and restoration company may be reassuring, but to really appreciate the benefits of this 3rd party certification, you should spend a minute or two learning what it represents. With a better understanding, you'll make sure that any industry professionals have this qualification from industry leaders.

The IICRC Confirmation

The Institute of Inspection Cleaning and Restoration Certification is a non-profit organization that sets standards within the inspection, cleaning, and restoration industries. For almost half a century, the organization has established health and safety standards, as well as ethics standards for professionals in the industry. They influence standards around the world and work closely with the American National Standards Institute. Cleaning and restoration professionals with IICRC certifications have demonstrated a thorough understanding of industry skills. Additionally, the organization provides training for professionals who want to improve in specific areas.

Courses Available Through the Institute

Property damage cleanup and restoration work is a broad term that covers many types of work. Professionals in the industry must be prepared to clean up and mitigate damage caused by fire, water, and mold. For example, technicians working on floors need to understand how carpeting, hardwoods, and cement floors are affected by various types of damage and how to respond to that damage. Here are just a few examples of course titles:

  • Applied Microbial Remediation Technician
  • Building Moisture Thermography
  • Commercial Drying Specialist
  • Contents Processing Technician
  • Leather Cleaning Technician
  • Odor Control Technician
  • Trauma and Crime Scene Technician

Professionals may complete a course to earn a mold mitigation certificate or a course in commercial carpet maintenance. When you hire a professional with certification from this industry leader, you can be confident that quality workmanship will be completed in accordance with industry standards.

Methodology Approved by the Institute

If your home is exposed to damage, such as a burst pipe or a kitchen fire, you'll probably do a quick search for a clean-up and restoration company. You may discover that you have a few options in your area with comparable prices. How will you decide which to choose? An uncertified company can't guarantee that the damage in your home will be handled appropriately. Mistakes made during the cleanup and repair processes can actually lead to more damage and greater expense.

Expertise Earned Through Training

Water, fire, and mold damage cleanup professionals who have been trained and who have earned their certification have already invested a lot of time and money to become skilled at their work. These professionals tend to have great reputations for top-quality work with high levels of client satisfaction.

You don't have to choose property damage restoration professionals with certification. After all, a newly established technician without training may be much cheaper in the short run. However, when you understand that every system in your home has a bearing on other systems, it becomes more important to you that repairs are handled with expertise.

Hiring a company with IICRC credentials is in your best interests. You can be confident that these technicians have the training and knowledge to leave your home in better shape than their uncertified competitors.

Mold Prevention and Rental Property Upkeep

9/14/2021 (Permalink)

A person cleaning black mold. Water damage can lead to mold if it is not repaired by a professional team.

As a landlord, it is your job to keep your rental properties clean and functional. Mold prevention is one of the most important maintenance tasks for any property owner. Unfortunately, prevention tips are not always clear. According to mold remediation companies in Colorado Springs, CO, there are several ways to prevent mold growth, including:

  • Making any necessary plumbing and leak repairs
  • Ensuring proper ventilation to prevent moisture
  • Performing routine roof maintenance
  • Improving airflow
  • Ensuring Proper Landscape Grading

Is DIY Mold Prevention a Good Idea?

Renters do not have access or the expertise to handle mold growth alone, and they shouldn't. Neither should the property owner.

Mold is technically a hazardous material and should only be handled by those trained in best removal practices. Additionally, mold is rarely the only problem. It is likely a secondary issue caused by moisture or water damage. Therefore, instead of focusing on DIY methods, find a qualified mold remediation specialist to correct the problem and restore the property.

Hiring the Right Professionals

The best way to prevent mold growth in a rental property is to ensure that any work being done is done properly. Do not hire anyone who offers a great deal but seems shady. Hiring a professional like a licensed mold remediation company is the best way to make sure your property will remain habitable.

A professional will work from the inside out and from the cause to the damage. In most buildings, the cause of mold growth is ongoing water damage. Sometimes, a water leak is so minor, it is nearly imperceptible. A little drip from a pipe or condensation on an HVAC unit is enough for mold to thrive.

A professional understands the causes of mold and the fundamentals of mold prevention, and they will inspect the entire property for the underlying problem if necessary. In most cases, the cause of the mold is close to the growth, meaning the professionals will likely expose the issue as they remove the mold damage.

Correcting Humidity and Ventilation Issues

If your property does not have any apparent leaks, the mold issue might stem from a ventilation or humidity problem. With excess moisture, you can install dehumidifiers and exhaust fans in areas prone to high humidity, like basements, attics, kitchens, laundry rooms, etc. The humidity level in a home should never be above 50%.

Additionally, you can help limit excess moisture and humidity by keeping the air moving on your property. You can install ceiling fans, window fans, or box fans to help keep air circulating and your house dry.

From simple issues to more complex mold removal, any landlord knows that mold prevention can be quite time-consuming and costly. Fortunately, there are a number of best practices that can prevent a property from developing mold. With the right knowledge, any property owner can reduce mold issues and keep their rental properties in the best condition possible. However, for the best results, a landlord should focus on hiring qualified professionals. Mold is a hazardous material and requires certain precautions during its removal from a property.

My Basement Has Flooded! Now What?

9/14/2021 (Permalink)

Basement flooded. Be sure to clean water damage after a flood in your Colorado Springs, CO home as quickly as possible to avoid further damage.

When you discover that your Colorado Springs, CO, basement has flooded, panic tends to ensue, especially if water is still flowing in. How do you stop and extract the water? Is anything going to be salvageable? How do you even restore the area after flooding? These are some of the main questions people ask during a basement flood. Fortunately, all hope is not lost; there are ways to restore much of a water-damaged area and its contents. When it comes to water damage, every second counts, so act quickly.

What Are the Steps for Remediation?

1. Prioritize Safety

Most importantly, you and others in the area must remain safe. Before you even step into the basement, turn off the electricity to the basement or the entire house. Electricity can flow through standing water if it's in contact with electronics, appliances, or electrical outlets. If you can't safely navigate to the circuit breaker, call a professional electrician or your power company to turn your electricity off.

2. Stop the Water

If the water is still flowing into the basement and it's from a burst pipe or another plumbing issue, shut off the main water supply to stop the water. You can call for pipe repair after you've started the restoration process.

3. Wear PPE

If the flood originated outdoors or contains sewage or another toxic substance, it's vital to wear personal protective equipment. This PPE not only keeps you and others in the area safe but also prevents cross-contamination to other parts of the house.

4. Eliminate Standing Water

You must extract standing water as quickly as possible. Every minute counts when it comes to water damage, as the damage progresses rapidly. The time it takes to eliminate the water could mean the difference between something being salvageable or not.

5. Remove Contents

Remove all affected items from the area. This not only includes basement contents but could also include carpeting and carpet padding, hardwood flooring, and drywall. Flooding will soak carpet and padding; it probably won't be dried quickly enough to save. Wet wood tends to warp and buckle and probably won't be salvageable. Drywall will soak up water like a sponge. You will likely have to cut out the wet parts of your drywall and replace them. Contents such as upholstered and wooden furniture will have to be assessed for salvageability.

6. Begin Drying

Mold can start growing within 24 hours of moisture exposure, so everything needs to be completely dried as quickly as possible. If you can't dry it within 48 hours, it probably won't be salvageable. The basement itself will also have to be dried thoroughly as quickly as possible to avoid mold growth. It's best to hire water damage restoration professionals to do this job, as they have the expertise and industrial equipment to handle the job safely and efficiently. In the meantime, you can run fans and dehumidifiers to dry the area faster. Heat will also help the drying process.

7. Clean Everything

You'll need to clean and disinfect everything to ensure no lingering bacteria, mold spores or other harmful substances remain. Everything that the water touched must be cleaned, including walls and furniture.

When you discover flooding in your basement, time is precious. The sooner you can begin drying, the more of the affected items you can save.

6 Steps To Take After a House Fire

8/20/2021 (Permalink)

A house on fire. Hire a professional team to help with your fire-damaged house in Colorado Springs, CO.

In the aftermath of a house fire, it's challenging to know which way to turn next. The fire has just ravaged your Colorado Springs, CO, home, so now it's time to begin rebuilding your life as quickly and efficiently as possible, from the fire restoration process to recovering your possessions.

Here are six steps to take after a house fire.

1. Protect Your Family and Pets

Immediately when everyone is safe from the fire, make sure your pets are unharmed. They'll probably be scared and may not act normally. Just remember, they don't understand what's going on. Give them love and care and reassurance, and keep them in a safe, calming area.

2. Contact Your Insurance Company

Home fire insurance policies typically require policyholders to file claims as soon as they can safely do so. First, call your insurance adjuster to report the loss and begin the claim process. Next, the insurance company will require you to list everything you lost in the fire and each item's value. You'll submit this information in a proof of loss claim.

3. Inventory Your Losses

While you're inventorying your losses, make sure you don't throw anything away. The insurance adjuster may want to see it and photograph it as proof of loss before fire restoration begins. You can also be proactive and list your property and its value in case such a disaster occurs. Take pictures of different rooms of your home showing the contents. Doing it beforehand will ease some stress after a disaster.

4. Reach Out for Help

Contact a local disaster relief agency, such as the American Red Cross, if you need temporary housing or other essentials, such as food and clothes. Most homeowners' policies will also provide a certain amount of money for living expenses if you can't occupy your home. Friends, family, and local churches are often happy to help with whatever is needed, such as donating household items or childcare.

5. Secure Your Home

The insurance company requires policyholders to take reasonable actions to protect their property after a loss to protect it from further damage. Mitigating damage after a fire could include tarping the roof, boarding up windows, or installing a temporary security fence. It could also mean moving undamaged items to unaffected areas to keep them out of harm's way. The insurance company probably won't pay for secondary damage that could've been avoided, so it's essential to do as much as possible to minimize the damage.

6. Schedule Professional Restoration

Professional restoration must be performed on a fire-damaged house. Fire damage restoration professionals have years of expertise and industrial-grade equipment for making sure the job is performed properly and as quickly as possible to prevent more damage. From soot and smoke cleaning to odor removal, water extraction, and mold mitigation, they'll return your home to code as soon as possible. They'll also do a thorough inspection to ensure all problems have been addressed.

Fire restoration must begin as quickly as possible after a house fire to mitigate any additional damage and return your life to normal. Proactively familiarizing yourself and your family with the process before a disaster occurs can prove to be advantageous should the worst happen.

5 Steps for Properly Maintaining Your Sump Pump

8/20/2021 (Permalink)

Sump pump. A sump pump will avoid water damage in your Colorado Springs, CO, home.

Water damage is one of the worst issues you may deal with as a homeowner, and anyone with a basement and a climate that involves a lot of rainfall may face flooding on a regular basis. A sump pump, however, provides a great solution. This device effectively moves water away from the home, even during power outages. If you want to be sure that the pump works and works well, you need to take a few steps to keep it in proper working condition.

Make sure that the pump is properly plugged into a ground fault circuit interrupter outlet. Inspect the cord regularly to catch and repair any signs of fraying or damage. Don't rely solely on your GFCI connection; a backup battery helps ensure the smooth operation of the pump.

Test the sump pump and the backup battery at least once a year. Slowly, pour a bucket of water into the pump. The device should activate when the water reaches a marked level. If it doesn't begin operating, there may be a clog, or it could be broken. If the pump does activate appropriately, test the battery by unplugging the pump and performing the same test.

Keep the components of the pump clean for efficient operation. This can be done simply by opening the lid and looking inside. (You may need a flashlight for this.) Clear out any debris, dirt, or other gunk. Be sure to check all vent holes, discharge pipes, and incoming and outgoing drainage lines to be sure that water can flow through them freely.

Update any old, worn-out parts. This step is particularly important if the sump pump has been used several times. The float switch is most likely to wear out and should be changed every two years, if not more often. Visually inspect the intake screen for clogs and for damage. This screen should be changed if you can see the damage. Experts recommend that the backup battery is replaced every two or three years; refer to the manufacturer's handbook. Finally, the pump itself may need to be replaced if several years have gone by. Most units last between seven and ten years, but some need to be changed out every five years because of heavy use.

Watch out for signs that your pump needs repairs. You may see rust on the pump itself or on any of the parts. If you can scrub away the rust, the pump will still probably work properly. If you can't, contact a professional for repairs or replacement. Don't ignore any musty, rotten smells that come from your basement. Pay attention to loud humming or banging noises. Any of these smells and sounds could be signs of damage or malfunction. If you find water, whether drips or pools, in your basement, the pump needs to be repaired.

If your sump pump fails, you could face a lot of expensive damage, in addition to the costs of hiring water damage cleanup and repair professionals. Routine pump maintenance is one of the best ways to protect your Colorado Springs, CO, home, and property from this situation.

Fire prevention tips for El Paso and Elbert county

8/17/2021 (Permalink)

Fire extinguishing. Preventing fire with small steps can go a long way.

According to the National Fire Protection Association in 2015, there were 500,000+ structure fires causing $10+ billion in property damage! Structure fires were reported every 63 seconds!

Here are a few tips to prevent a fire at your Colorado Springs, CO, home or property, provided by the American Red Cross.

  • Keep items that can catch on fire at least three feet away from anything that gets hot, such as space heaters.
  • Talk to children regularly about the dangers of fire, matches, and lighters and keep them out of reach.
  • Turn portable heaters off when you leave the room or go to sleep.
  • Install smoke alarms on every level of your home and outside every sleeping area. Also, install a carbon monoxide alarm in a central location outside each separate sleeping area.
  • Check electrical wiring in your home.
  • Avoid overloading outlets or extension cords.
  • Make sure wiring is not under rugs, attached by nails, or in high traffic areas.

 Have you checked your home or property for fire hazards recently? Have you had conversations with your family about what you would do in a fire emergency? What is your plan if a fire impacts your home?

SERVPRO of North Central Colorado Springs specializes in the cleanup of residential and commercial property after a fire or smoke damage event and can help you get back on track after an incident.

SERVPRO of North Central Colorado Springs is locally owned and operated—so we’re a part of this community too. We are also part of a national network of over 1,700 Franchises, which enables us to respond quicker with more resources. For major storms and disasters, we can call upon special Disaster Recovery Teams strategically located throughout the country.

SERVPRO of North Central Colorado Springs proudly serves Colorado Springs, Fountain, Security-Widefield, Black Forest, Peyton, Calhan, Woodland Park, Ellicott, and all of Elbert and El Paso County. Call us with your mitigation concerns at (719) 266-0881

How to Prevent Water Damage: Managing the Calm, So There is No Storm

8/17/2021 (Permalink)

Kitchen with water damage. Leaking refrigerator supply line can lead to water damage to your Colorado Springs, CO, home

If faucets and drains function correctly, most homeowners don’t pay attention to water in the home. However, when that water is suddenly overflowing spaces and causing damage to property, homeowners take notice. The tips below will help you manage the calm now so that there are no water issues later.

1. Perform Routine Maintenance

Most elements of a home require routine maintenance to ensure that everything continues to function correctly, and this is no different for plumbing. Most plumbing systems should be cleaned out and inspected once or twice a year. This pipe cleanup and maintenance helps to protect your home from experiencing significant water damage.

2. Keep an Eye on Appliances

While water in the home is necessary for daily routines, care should be taken around appliances, both old and new. From small leaks behind the dishwasher to failed seals under the toilet, appliances are some of the most common culprits of water damage. Again, routine maintenance can help catch most of these issues before any significant problems occur.

3. Install Preventative Measures

A clogged or broken pipe can lead to extensive damage both cosmetically and structurally, but the installation of backflow valves and sump pumps can help to prevent any potential problems. Additionally, the installation of waterproofing systems and gutter systems can help to keep the lower levels of your home dry.

4. Conduct Bi-Annual Inspections

In addition to routine maintenance, you may want to conduct bi-annual inspections, spring, and fall, to pinpoint any areas of concern. Hiring a professional in Colorado Springs, CO, can be a wise choice because they will be equipped to give you a thorough understanding of the health of your home and its plumbing.

Again, water in the home is necessary, but it must be contained and controlled to prevent costly repairs and damage. Homeowners have a responsibility to their property, to maintain it and care for it. By performing routine maintenance, being mindful of appliances, and conducting regular inspections, homeowners can protect both their home and their family.

Dealing With the Aftermath of Broken Pipes in a Commercial Facility

8/13/2021 (Permalink)

Burst pipe If the broken pipe is not fixed, further damages can come to your Colorado Springs, CO, business building.

While most commercial facilities can experience a lifetime of business without dealing with bursting pipes throughout the facility, these problems do occur. Broken pipes are typically more common in facilities without temperature control and during the winter months, but such situations can occur at any time and with little warning.

When breaks occur, it is crucial to quickly deal with the problem to limit inventory and property damage. Businesses should contact a licensed water mitigation company in Colorado Springs, CO, for more information and to begin the recovery process. In the meantime, there are a few steps a business owner can take in the interim:

  • Shut off the water supply
  • Dry the affected area
  • Remove valuable and salvageable inventory and assets

Remove the Water Source

Before a company can fix a broken pipe, it is necessary to eliminate the primary source of concern: the flowing water. A property manager should want to limit the risks of further flooding or inventory damage. If possible, cut off the water supply by only closing the valve to the affected area. If a controlled shutdown is not possible, locate the water main for the property and turn that off instead.

The primary concern is to stop the rush of water into other areas of the facility and to allow the swift removal of spillage from affected spaces. Bursting pipes can cause a lot of damage and quickly, so take care to acknowledge and account for any potential threats to you or your worker’s safety.

Do Not Allow Water To Sit For Too Long

The longer water spills out of the pipes, the more water damage in Colorado Springs, CO, will accumulate. Additionally, if you leave the water to pool and stand in an area, the more primary and secondary damage the property will experience.

The water spilling out of a broken pipe is most likely clean, but that does not mean the damage to the property is limited to minor issues. Mold is a significant concern after water leaks, and it can be costly and challenging to repair.

Removing water and drying the space quickly is essential to limit mold risks. However, unless you are sure the water damage results from a clean source and the area is safe for entry, leave the cleanup to the professionals.

Move Valuable and Salvageable Items to a Safe Dry Space

Once the affected area is dry and professionals have deemed it safe to enter, you and your team can begin removing inventory and assets. If there are any dry, unaffected items, it is best to start with these. For any objects in contact with the water, it is often best to work with a mitigation specialist to determine salvageability. Depending on the severity of the flooding, you will not manage to save everything, but a professional can help you select the items with the best repair potential.

While not every business will need to deal with burst pipes, those that do need to realize that a quick response is crucial to reducing the level of damage sustained. Following the above steps can help reduce many of your concerns and limit the odds of severe secondary damage.